The most common question I’m asked about my writing is: Where do you get your ideas? My most common answer is: I don’t know. Ideas are always lurking, waiting to be unearthed, fleshed out, discarded or explored deeper. There’s usually a trigger, a “what if” and then, boom, the idea starts to flow. Sometimes slowly, but sometimes the story unfolds in my mind like quicksand.
I know, I know. That’s really not a good enough answer. So, I’m going to make myself dig deeper here and tell you where the original ideas came from for each of my Charity House novels. Why those books, specifically? Because my next release, THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION, marks the sixth book in the series. The seventh book, FINALLY A BRIDE, will hit the shelves in November of this year. It’s a good time to take a moment and look back over the series to see how I got here. There isn’t room to go into too much detail, so bear with me as I try to give you a quick overview.
CHARITY HOUSE REDEMPTION: Although published as Book Five in the series, this story actually came first, or as I like to say: Where it all began. In this particular case, I can remember the precise moment when the idea for Charity House came to me.
I was at a writer’s conference back in 1999, still unpublished and waiting for my big break. I didn’t know what I was going to write next, but I knew I wanted it to be special. For our luncheon entertainment the conference committee brought in a group called The Shady Ladies who reenacted life in the Old West. When the ladies came around to the concept of birth control for prostitutes, or rather lack thereof, I sat up a little taller. I knew I had my idea. You see, Charity House is what was called a baby farm in the Old West, dedicated to the care and feeding of the unwanted children of prostitutes. The heroine of CHARITY HOUSE REDEMPTION is the daughter of a prostitute who wanted to get out of the brothel where her mother worked. She brought the other children with her and, thus, Charity House was born.
THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE is officially Book One in the series. The hero is a U.S. Marshal and brother-in-law to the hero in CHARITY HOUSE REDEMPTION. The heroine was a former orphan at Charity House and is now the new schoolteacher. From the moment they met, they started circling one another. But the heroine had been assaulted by one of her mother’s clients and wary of men. The hero, a widower, was too bent on avenging his wife’s death to be interested in love again. Thanks to a wounded five-year-old little girl who both loved dearly, they managed to get past their differences and form a family together.
HANNAH’S BEAU is Book Two in the series. This story came about because I wasn’t quite through with Charity House, even though I’d originally planned to end the series after THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE. The hero of this book is a rebel preacher with a heart for the lost. He showed up in only one scene prior to this book. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to ministering to prostitutes, gamblers and other reprobates in the Old West. The heroine is a famous stage actress shunned by the good-Christian-folk because of her profession. Since the hero is from a family of famous stage actors he understands the heroine on a level most people don’t. As a result of their happily-ever-after, Charity House now has a full-time pastor and loosely connected church.
LOVING BELLA is Book Three in the series. The hero in this book is the only doctor in town who will treat the children at Charity House and their mothers in the brothel. He was a secondary character in all of the previous books and I really felt he needed his own happily-ever-after. It really wasn’t any more complicated than that. His heroine is a famous opera singer and the sister of the hero from HANNAH’S BEAU. Her arrival in town comes at a perfect time for the hero, yet produces lots of complications for him as well.
THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE is Book Four and explores another hero and heroine’s love story, both of whom showed up in all the previous books. Logan Mitchell started out as the deputy U.S. marshal for the hero in THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE. When he first met his heroine she was an orphan at Charity House. The two have been kept apart by age, other people and life circumstances for five years. It’s their time for love at last.
THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION is Book Six in the series and the newest of the stories. It focuses on Logan’s brother, Hunter. I’ve always wanted to explore why some of us choose to embrace the good inside us, while others can’t seem to avoid the bad. Thanks to a restlessness he could never shake, Hunter hasn’t lived a good or a very righteous life. He left home young, willingly took the wrong path as soon as he was gone, and made bad decision upon bad decision. Can a man like that be redeemed? I wanted to find out, and so THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION was born.
And…there’s lots more to all the stories, but no room to continue. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for copy of THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION. I’m giving away three copies of this book. As a bonus, I’m going to give away a full set of all six books to one grand prize winner.